A Critique of the L3 Early Years Literacy Program

Roslyn Neilson, Sally Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The L3 program was originally written for implementation in the first year of schooling in New South Wales (NSW) schools. L3, stands for the language, learning and literacy. The program's stated aims involve providing a classroom teaching approach that ensures appropriate early literacy intervention for all children, including the more disadvantaged groups, thereby reducing the number of children who may need further intervention in later years of schooling. The underlying pedagogy is strongly constructivist with a focus on meaning rather than code in children's first introduction to literacy. The promotional material for L3 claim that L3 program 'goals' are being exceeded. However, the 'goals' are set very low, twenty percent of all students reading at Level 5 or less and twenty percent of all students writing 5 words or less. Therefore it is not surprising that the program can be reported as exceeding expectations. It is difficult to draw any reliable conclusions about the efficacy of the intervention as the internal assessment used by the Department of Education in NSW lacks objectivity, reliability and validity. It is a risky move for the NSW Department of Education to choose and promote L3, ignoring current research evidence about the importance of systematic phonics teaching in favour of the promotion of the Reading Recovery philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalLearning difficulties Australia bulletin
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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